Centrul Astra Film

 

 

Astra Film Festival

Film catalogue

0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  • “6x9” A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement

    “6x9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement” is an immersive experience of solitary confinement in US prisons which places viewers in a virtual segregation cell they can explore and interact with. It aims to highlight the psychological deterioration and sensory deprivation that can be the effects of long term solitary confinement for many of the people who have experienced it firsthand around the world. Throughout “6x9” the viewer will hear audio from interviews with seven former inmates who were in solitary confinement for between one and eight years in California and New York. These characters talk to viewers throughout the experience about what they can expect during the film. ...

  • 1 Building and 40 People Dancing

    Exploring the relationship between people and their living quarters, “1 Building and 40 People Dancing” is an endearing living mosaic, that focuses its gaze on the elderly inhabitants of a public housing building. For the protagonists, the proximity acts as a driver of empathy and complicity, defining them as both individuals and an organic part of a larger whole. Emblematically so, we first become acquainted with them in the communal space of the hallways, through the relationships they create with one another. Little by little the characters reveal details of their life story, both harrowing and inspiring, they themselves deciding how and how much to share in front of the camera. With an unbiased sense of understanding, director Miki Polonski creates a candid series of portraits, with a fine eye for capturing the minutiae of the people’s inner lives and the tenderness of their emotions. ...

  • A Mere Breath

    Dobrin Sicrea lives with his wife and their children in Copșa Mică, the most polluted town in Europe until 2009, when the Sometra factory he was working for closed down. Denisa, the youngest daughter, is semiparalized and her parents lead a devoutly religious life. Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan captures – through fixed shots and shot compositions reminiscent of Ulrich Seidl’s stylistics – 7 years from the life of this family, offering viewers the chance of observing over time a nuanced family relations dynamics. Some things change as the children grow up, while others seem to remain the same. A MERE BREATH explores with maturity and empathy the moral dillemas that Dobrin faces, after having arrived more than once at the crossroads between medicine and religion. Not unlike Ionas’s biblical parable, this family’s faith seems to be tested as well, while waiting for a miracle to happen. ...

  • Abdul & Hamza

    With an understated approach to the subject of Somali refugees traveling the roads of Europe in search of safety and a better life, “Abdul & Hamza” is a documentary sensitive to the significance of passing moments and the past’s repetitive patterns. Undermining our expectations through a series of “fake endings” signalled through music or mood, the film unravels the trappings of a history which reiterates itself, leaving the two protagonists in between states and spaces, on a road that never ends. Reacting to his two characters instead of exploiting their stories to appeal to the public, director Marko Grba Singh chooses long takes connected by voices leaking from one scene into another and frames favouring space to defuse the subject’s inherent dramatism. This makes for a more human approach to Abdul an Hamza whose discreet presences will literally fade, invisible as they are to the collective consciousness. ...

  • Across the Line

    Across the Line is an immersive virtual reality experience that combines 360°video and computer generated imaging (CGI) to put viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion. Using real audio gathered at protests, scripted scenes, and documentary footage, the film is a powerful hybrid documentary fiction depiction of the gantlet that many abortion providers, health center staff, and patients must walk on a typical day in America. ...

  • Age

    “Everyone wants to grow old, but no one wants to be old”. AGE, an anthropological and kaleidoscopic essay, questions how our perspective on happiness, love, death and on how we value life changes over time, with the help of more than a hundred people of different ages, starting from 0 to 100. Although the film accompanies strangers, the narrative structure of an ideal linear chronology makes it possible for any viewer to relate with the key-moments in which these strangers find themselves; in fact, they work as mileposts, marking various life stages and rites of passage. Consistent from a conceptual point of view and provided with equally fluid and fragmentary camerawork and editing, the film also conveys the on-going shift in the way we approach the playfulness of life, social conventions, normative concepts and our own body, while never letting us forget a premise that we generally tend to repress, namely that the process of ageing begins at birth. ...

  • Alisa in Warland

    Alisa was 26 when the revolution started in Kiev. She was a student at a film school at the time, but above all she felt she was a Ukrainian, called to do something for her country. This film describes her journey from Euromaidan to the war in the East. It is a sensitive diary of a young woman lost in a shaky world. Alisa is much more than just a filmmaker, she turns into an active participant in the events, a soldier going as far as becoming ''one of the boys'' in the line of fire. And she is also a young woman in love. This film is the outcome of a candid self-documenting of her adventures. Like Lewis Carroll's Alice, she finds herself in a bizzare distorted world, and tries to ballance the three parts of her personality. ...

  • Amazing Astronomers of Antiquity

    Over 2,000 years ago ancient astronomers knew the Earth was round; they measured its diameter and distance from the Sun; knew the length of the year to the precision of our modern calendar; and developed a method for predicting eclipses. Ancient sailors navigated by the stars and some astronomers even suspected the Earth orbited the Sun. Amazing Astronomers of Antiquity is a journey of learning from the Pantheon to the ancient Library of Alexandria to the pyramids of Egypt. Discover why the Pantheon is an astronomical instrument; how Eratosthenes measured the Earth's circumference; how the Saqqara Step Pyramid depicts the turning stars; who first claimed that the Earth orbits the Sun; and who created the Antikythera Mechanism with hundreds of gears to predict motions of the Sun, Moon and planets. ...

  • Among the Believers

    With unprecedented access to the inner workings of ideological myopia, “Among the Believers” follows clerical leaders, social activists and students of the numerous extremist Islamic schools in order to paint a nuanced picture of the context, motivations and perpetuation of violence and radicalization in Pakistan. Archive newsreel and present-day footage mix in a non-linear fashion to trace the origins of a seemingly incomprehensible situation. A self-interested political class, repeated failures of the government and poverty inevitably pushes people into a context where their minds get warped. In this void of power, none of the leaders can or want to be saviours, leaving the people vulnerable to fanatical beliefs. However, “Among the Believers” doesn’t look for Bogeymen, but looks at people without trying to redeem them, observing how they acting out of their personal traumas in a vicious cycle of oppression and force. ...

  • Angela

    Angela is a 17-year old Roma girl, married and about to give birth to twins. She lives with her parents in a village from Transylvania and spends her day sending letters to her husband, as they’re temporarily separated. Mixing talking heads with everyday family scenes, Botond Püsök’s film speaks about how Angela’s story reflects wider issues, dealing with the need for social integration and with discrimination, while X-raying the difficulties that young girls from the community have to face: the lack of education, gender inequality and the persistency of controversial customs such as kidnapping girls that are to be married. Young Angela is stoically trying to cope with all these problems, by counterbalancing them with faith and optimism. Angela is a 17-year old Roma girl, married and about to give birth to twins. She lives with her parents in a village from Transylvania and spends her day sending letters to her husband, as they’re temporarily separated. Mixing talking heads with everyday family scenes, Botond Püsök’s film speaks about how Angela’s story reflects wider issues, dealing with the need for social integration and with discrimination, while X-raying the difficulties that young girls from the community have to face: the lack of education, gender inequality and the persistency of controversial customs such as kidnapping girls that are to be married. Young Angela is stoically trying to cope with all these problems, by counterbalancing them with faith and optimism. ...

  • Anthill

    Wails of a violin echo through an immense concrete building, as a man wistfully listens while another falls from his feet, almost-empty vodka bottle rattling on the pavement. Frames masterfully drenched in darkness and succinct strokes of light alternate with more naturalistic compositions to portray a somewhere in Tallinn, where a small part of the Soviet Union lives on. “Anthill” is a direct cinema documentary that observes a small group of people whose lives gravitate around an unspectacular garage complex. Although lacking any apparent appeal, the building proves to be the veritable vault, safekeeping all of the characters’ possessions, ideals and obsessions. Carefully constructed compositions alternate with moments of candid humdrum, capturing life’s involuntary absurd juxtapositions but also graceful moments of the ordinary. ...

  • Applause Man

    Antoon De Pauw had his fifteen minutes of fame during the ‘90’s. He was known for his numerous attempts to steal applause on public occasions. No stage, show or event was spared from Antoon’s streakings: fully dressed-up in tuxedo, he jumped on scene to receive the applause from the audience. The purpose of these appearances has always remained a mystery. Was it rebellion against the growing mass media? Or was it a cry for attention? Some said he was just mad, crazy. What started out as something innocent had become a life-changing obsession for Antoon. Addicted to the rush and trapped in a controversial media storm, he completely lost it. His sudden death in 2009, left a lot of questions unanswered. The Applause Man shines a new light on the life and story of this forgotten cult-celebrity. The Applause Man is a film about a man devoted to applause, and how far he went for his passion. ...

  • Armânii, at the famous Manakia to I'm not famous...

    The documentary provides a voyage into the world of the Aromanians (Armâni), from the first motion pictures ever filmed in the Balkans, which, incidentally, were shot by the Aromanian Brothers Yanaki and Milton Manakia and to the first talkie in the history of cinema spoken in Aromanian. Its title, “I’m not famous but I’m Armân”, is emblematic for this proud and mysterious people. A special attention is given to the connection the viewers themselves are prompted to make between the films shot by the Manakia Brothers after 1905, presenting moments from daily life and the past of the Armâns, and the film “I’m not famous but I’m Armân” , made more than a hundred years later, which presents, as part of the story, the current situation of the Armân people. The conclusion is that, irrespective of where they live, the Armâns share the same name and language and are the same people. ...

  • Assent

    When the military took control of Chile in the coup of September 1973, it was the culmination of Cold War tensions, international political influence and internal conflict. For the personnel of the Army, it was an event that changed the direction of their lives. ''The Caravan of Death'' that travelled the country by helicopter conducting executions of military detainees in the immediate aftermath of the coup was a mechanism of terror. Thirty years later, the repercussions of those events still play out daily – in courts, in politics, and in the homes of Chilean people. This autobiographical immersive documentary puts the user in the footsteps of media artist Oscar Raby’s father, who in 1973 was a 22-year-old army officer stationed in the north of Chile, on the day when the Caravan of Death came to his regiment. Together with him, the viewer will witness in VR an execution of a group of prisoners captured by the military regime – an army that Raby’s father was himself a part of. ...

  • Aurora: Lights of Wonder

    Filmed on location in Yellowknife, Canada, this is a documentary that presents the viewers with the unique chance to experience the Aurora Borealis as if they were there, thanks to the pioneering work of astrophotographer Kwon O Chul. The film does not feature the typical time-lapse images, but instead: highresolution, hemispherical video recorded in real-time with a special low-light camera system that captures the subtle detail, colours, dynamism and beauty of the Aurora. In addition, scientific explanations and beautiful art work about the legend of the Aurora are featured throughout the movie. ...

  • Blind man with starry eyes

    The Blind Man with Starry Eyes is a lovely tale for young children. Introducing basic astronomical concepts such as night and day, rotation of the Earth, stars and the Sun, shooting stars and meteorites - the show is also a profound story about life, knowledge and our relationship to Nature. In order to increase his power, a tyrant asks a wise old man of his kingdom to give him the secret which would enable him to extend his power and domination. Despite his insistence, he can only elicit one answer from the wise old man: “Look at the sky and count the stars”. When he realizes the wise old man will not give him more clues, the tyrant follows his advice and starts counting the stars in the sky. Step by step, a relationship takes place between them which will change the tyrant’s quest for domination into a quest for knowledge. ...

  • Block

    ''Once an executive director, always an executive director '' seems to be the motto of the protagonist of this film. In his day, he was the director of an important communist enterprise. With communism and the enterprise gone and him becoming a pensioner, he exercises his leadership skills on the occupants of a block of flats in a provincial Romanian city from the position of block administrator. With an eye both curious and sensitive to details, director Maria Şalaru explores the rich social and material universe of the typical Eastern-European flat and its dwellers. The camera observes the administrator's efforts to mediate relationships between neighbours and maintain peace and order, and occasionally focuses on trademarks of communist-style home design. In doing so, it crayons the rich nuances of the inhabitants’ everyday lives. ...

  • Changa Revisited

    Mixing contemporary footage with photos and sound-recordings from the 80s, the ethnographic documentary CHANGA REVISITED addresses the past-present dynamics within a Maasai community from Tanzania, formed around the current pater familias, Toreto di Koisenge. The everyday life of Toreto’s family, living out of herding livestock and subsistence agriculture, reflects, on a small scale, the impact that the larger socio-economic changes from the region have had on the preservation of their traditional way of life. Filmmakers Leonard Kamerling and Peter Biella have an approach akin to the participatory tradition; the close relationship they seem to have developed with the members of this community they’re revisiting after 30 years is a key factor in accounting for the latter talking openly in front of the camera about their concerns in regard to the widespread alcoholism among men, the increase of poverty and domestic violence, the dissolution of the Maasai solidarity, and about their worries related to the children’s limited access to education. An intimate and immersive family portrait, focusing on the texture of community ties and on conveying how a specific sense of rhythm of life is threatened by incertitude, which captures from a mature anthropological perspective how globalization reshapes topical worldviews. ...

  • Chat with Alice

    CHAT WITH ALICE is a palimpsest-portrait of a 19-year old girl who works in the field of video chat in order to support her little boy, Aristo, and her husband Dorian, who is 35 years older than her. Both of them are visual artists, giving Aristo the chance to grow up in a creative environment, among drawings and paint brushes. On the other hand, Alice’s job and Dorian’s mental disorders risk jeopardizing the home of the “Floyd family”. On a reflexive note, the film crew joins Aristo’s games, while, in the background, the parents are trying to find a common ground and mutual understanding. Isabela Țenț’s documentary plays upon the contradictions between Alice’s persona from the chat room and the normative expectations we might have in regard to motherhood. ...

  • Childhoods of Longocampo

    Childhoods of Longocampo represents the omnibus collection of the documentary films created during CINEIMPACT International Film Academy, that took place in the region Campulung Muscel in 2014. The omnibus film explores various facets of childhood stories, circumstances and perceptions, beyond the conventional age and social norms that teach us where, when and how our childhoods begin and end. CINEIMPACT Film Academy is an international program dedicated to Creative Documentary and Visual Anthropology. The filmmakers that created in the framework of CINEIMPACT program are students or graduates of MA and Phd programs in Film and Visual Anthropology, coming from countries such as Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Brasil, Croatia, England, Greece and Romania / ...

  • Cinema, mon amour

    Inspired by the same child-like love of movies’ magic as “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso”, “Cinema, mon amour” tells the story of a present-day Don Quixote and his fight for the survival of the cinema theatre he has worked in as a manager for the most part of his life. Victor Purice is a natural-born entrepreneur. Unabashed by the ramshacke building and the virtualy non-existent audience, he makes plans to resuscitate the cinema to its former glory. Meanwhile, life goes on like in a private household. The manager and his two female employees cook their meals, have dinner, and reminisce about good old times. They treat the sporadic spectators as guests coming to visit, offering them blankets and hot tea when the cold becomes unbearable in the unheated theatre. Yellow-tinted images and melancholic monologues portray a nostalgia for bygone times, when going to the movies was social glue. However, “Cinema, mon amour” carefully avoids falling into pessimism, focusing rather on the unlimited quantity of energy the passion for cinema is able to unleash. ...

  • City Play

    The project MiniMedina ('mini-city' in Arabic) aims to create a simulated real-size city scenario for children, helping them to learn about the mechanisms of a city, and prompting them to imagine the ideal city and their role in society. The screen is split in two, each part showing the constrasting roles children have in the city and how they change as they grow up. It is a technique both interesting and meaningful for a documentary experimenting with the thin line that distinguishes play from reality. ...

  • Coming Face to Face

    Three years after the death of her mother, director Sára Haragonics makes a home-movie film diary, documenting intimate moments spent with her father, brother and boyfriend during their summer vacation. By alternating present-day scenes with home-movie footage from the family archive, this highly personal documentary questions how we cope on an emotional level with something as painful as the passing of one’s mother and wife, the way we face guilt mechanisms, and, especially, what inner springs can one still find inside the family to overcome pain and accept the absence. The physical space of the Haragonics’ and that of the places they (re)visit abroad work as a backdrop laden with Proustian madeleines, highlighting a family’s attempt at keeping alive in their hearts their mother’s and wife’s presence while life inevitably carries on. ...

  • Confessions of Thomas Quick

    With no less than 39 brutal murders on his conscience, Sture Bergwall, also known as Thomas Quick, came to be known as Sweden’s most horrifying serial killer. While being incarcerated at Säter, the psychiatric hospital, since 1991 for armed robbery, Bergwall confessed the murders to the therapists of the institution one after another, covering almost all of the unsolved murder cases of Sweden at that time. The story took an extraordinary turn: in 2008 two Swedish journalists (Rastam and Kuttin) decided to re-examine the 50,000 pages of therapy notes, court documents and police interrogations, and came to the conclusion that there wasn’t any evidence for any of the cases other than Bergwall’s own confessions, many of which had been made while he was taking high doses of tranquilizing drugs. After the journalists confronted Bergwall with their conclusion, he admitted that all his confessions were false, to the huge embarrassment of the Swedish police, psychiatric establishment and judiciary. Bergwall was cleared of all the murders, and later released. ...

  • Crazy Horse

    CRAZY HORSE follows the rehearsals and performances of the Crazy Horse Paris for a new show, DÉSIRS, staged by Philippe Decouflé, a celebrated French choreographer, as well as the backstage preparations of the dancers (make-up and costume fittings) and the various issues involved in the planning of the show and the administration of the cabaret. (Zipporah Films) Frederick Wiseman, a master of editing film content, splendidly captures on camera a world as it has never been seen before, depicting a fresco of the illustrious cabaret in Paris at the “Crazy Horse” nightclub. Known for its prestigious shows since 1951, “Crazy Horse” baffles its customers with a spectacle of lights, exquisite physiques, and breathtaking choreography in an atmosphere of vintage burlesque. A curious and tactful contemplation, Wiseman’s film unveils the total preparation for the luscious shows, from auditions and rehearsals to the entire administration of the club, while “topless girls […] gleefully disrobe, glove by glove and stocking by stocking (Jenny Barchfield, Associated Press).” A delicate ingress into the club reveals how nakedness is turned into a true art form, as Crazy Horse builds on the very idea of femininity, elegance, and nature of performance. The club’s philosophy relies on the dancers’ grace, hard work and glamour. With cultivated professional distance to his work, Wiseman prompts a storm of applause for the place as the star of the show. “Substance, captured with style… Crazy Horse […] is a reminder of what a documentary can be (A. O. Scott, The New York Times).” ...

  • Czech Against Czechs

    In 2013, Czech filmmaker Tomáš Kratochvíl moves for a couple of months to Ústí nad Labem, in a building inhabited only by Romani, against his family’s wish. His experience as a Gadjo in the building owned by Jarda and Margita allows him to understand first-hand the everyday reality of Romani, a minority strongly stigmatized in the Czech Republic. He shoots handheld anti-Roma demonstrations – increasingly more numerous in 2013 throughout the country – as well as pro-tolerance demonstrations organized by NGOs and members of the Roma community. In CZECH AGAINST CZECHS, a doc-vlog in the spirit of reflexive and participatory documentaries, the camera works as a means of dialectically exposing predominantly unequivocal sides and attitudes in concern to xenophobia, as a source of acute social tension. At the same time, Kratochvíl’s and his family’s personal involvement in this experiment turns the camera in more than a tool for demystifying dangerous preconceptions that separate citizens of the same country, but also as a reconciliation device. ...

  • Dark Gene

    Neurologist Frank Schauder has been struggling for years with chronic depression. Attempting to escape the flagellating tentacles of the disease’s and suicidal tendencies, the doctor and patient Schauder talks with family members, friends, artists and experts in molecular biology about the relation between depression and genetic heritage. During a transoceanic journey in search for answers to existential bio-ethics questions, he investigates the instruments and methods science provides today in the case of DNA analysis and editing, so that he could perhaps better understand his condition. Mixing footage that documents this emotionally complex process with CGI animations, THE DARK GENE addresses the consequences of genetic alteration on improving the quality of life for people suffering from mental health disorders. At the same time, it offers an equally informative and personal perspective on a topical matter, since 350 million people worldwide are diagnosed at the moment with depression ...

  • Dazzling Light of Sunset

    Flanked by her phlegmatic sidekick, Dariko is the only outside broadcast journalist at a local Georgian television channel. With derisory resources, she races from one report to another to give an honest, if not objective, image of the current events that shape her environment: from the capture of a “giant” owl to the obituaries – where we thus learn that the bearer of the Soviet flag fluttering over the Berlin Reichstag in 1945 has just been buried. This microscopic tragi-comedy reflects the way the whole nation functions, where appearance is more valued than content. ...

  • Dead Slow Ahead

    Director Mauro Herce spent more than two months on board of a freighter impassibly travelling across the Atlantic, with a crew formed largely of Filipinos, whom he frames most of the time by use of wide shots, thus highlighting their pawn-like quality. Herce’s directorial debut in feature-length documentary, DEAD SLOW AHEAD, is a poetic and dystopic sample of cinema, echoing late modernist ideas about how labor can become dehumanizing and alienating in the post-industrial society. He acquires this through abstract surrealist compositions, stylized with the help of fluorescent lighting, through a mechanical angst-driven and ominous soundscape design and through sci-fi tropes. There isn’t a soul on deck to admire the breathtaking marine vistas. Everyone’s somewhere down below, working; some of them are hopelessly trying to phone their beloved ones at home – an unsatisfying trace of an unseen civilization. As a counterpoint, the sisyphic maintenance of this gigantic and inescapable marine monster casts a shadow over the possibility of whatever type of human interaction. The isolation of the imbruted crew makes their life be put on hold on a ship otherwise in perpetual motion and is sensorially conveyed as a trance experience, which allegorically hints at the fate of capitalism, comparably adrift. ...

  • Depth Two

    In 2001 seven hundred bodies were discovered in five mass graves on the outskirts of Belgrade. By investigating the link between this discovery and the mysterious surfacing from the Danube of a truck container loaded with 56 bodies, Serbian director Ognjen Glavonić follows the victims’ journey backwards, thus revealing – through minimal cinematic means and thriller tropes – a part of the cover-up of the Albanian ethnic cleansing during the Kosovo war. Sound-recordings of depositions of accomplices, witnesses and of a surviving victim (taken during the trial of Slobodan Milošević and of other important members of his administration) are juxtaposed over bleak images, shot in the same Serbian regions where the massacres took place or that played the part of quiet witnesses to these grim processions. A systemic code of silence is dismounted piece by piece, hypnotically triggering off the viewer’s imagination. 17 years after the time of the killings, Glavonić opts for a type of cinema of absence, in which the unseen becomes tangible. Without showing almost any human figure, but instead giving voice to those directly involved, the director confronts, with forensic precision, the deeply unsettling details of this collective tragedy. ...

  • Devil's child

    December 1989. The Ceaușescu regime collapses. The world discovers the horrible extent of this dictatorship, especially images showing hundreds of thousands of children confined and abused in orphanages. Marion is one of these orphans, a devil's child, as she calls herself. A French couple adopted her when she was 6 years old. Today, at the age of 37, she has just given birth to her first child; this event brings her back to her own past, when she was abandoned the day she was born. Marion wants to retrace her past, along with Elisabeth Blanchet who has photographed Ceausescu's orphans. We will follow her in her quest, in a road movie across Romania, as the country prepares to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the dictator's fall. ...

  • Domestic Violence

    DOMESTIC VIOLENCE shows the Tampa, Florida, police responding to domestic violence calls and the work of The Spring, the principal shelter in Tampa for women and children. Sequences with the police include police response, intervention, and attempted resolution of domestic violence calls. Sequences at the shelter include intake interviews, individual counseling sessions, anger management training, group therapy, staff meetings, conversations among clients and between clients and staff, and school activities, therapy and counseling for children at the shelter. (Zipporah Films) The well known phrase “Abuse begets abuse” lies at the heart of this chilling portrayal of women and their children as they go from a life of torment to a life of ease and control over their lives at “The Spring” shelter. Victims of domestic violence, with a low self-esteem as they have been subject to intense terror, they have found a sanctuary where they try to overcome their physical and emotional pain. Through filmed interviews, individual counselling sessions, group therapy, anger management training, we witness how these women reclaim their lives by analyzing their situation and changing their attitude towards their so called lovers. For them, the shelter is an oasis understanding and trust where they can let go of emotional baggage and find a meaning for all the scars and bruises. There is not one violent scene on screen, yet violence is present throughout the entire film, felt through the victims’ accounts of the abuses. What these women learn at the shelter is a breath of fresh air, although the narrative brings everything back to where it initially started. “The most powerful moments can rise unexpectedly and break over you, then recede with almost fearful speed. They surprise the viewer because they surprise the people on the screen.” –David Edelstein, The New York Times ...

  • Domestic Violence 2

    DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2 takes place in the arraignment, misdemeanor, and injunction courts in Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida. The courts deal with issues such as bail bonds, release pending trial, the specific context of injunctions regulating time and place of parental visits, restraining orders, contact with children, support payments, and the court's decision about fault and punishment. The judges and lawyers ask questions which elicit the stories of couples' relationships and the specific form of violence between them. (Zipporah Films) Domestic Violence 2 brings to our attention the legal implications of this issue which seems to have become dreadfully ordinary. Filmed in the courts of Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida, through this film we witness the way the law for domestic violence is enforced after the judges listen to the testimonies. Their reactions mainly evolve into deciding to break the couples up, usually for the sake of the children and often clashing with the couples’ desire to stay together. The difficult task of the judges is to come up with instant solutions for problems that began years before, leaving a mark on the couples’ structure, which is so deep that they cannot erase it by simply putting an end to their relationship. As judges have to make decisions with respect to restraining orders, parental visits, child support and punishment, they ask questions that reveal the stories of the couples’ bonds and the exact form of violence that occurred between them. “In DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2 one judge […] resolves the case by issuing an order forbidding the couple to have any contact with each other. ‘That’ll be tough’, the man says, ‘because we’re seeing each other.’” –Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper ...

  • Don Juan

    Oleg is a 22-year old young man diagnosed as a child with autism, who has some social skills issues and lives in Nizhny Novgorod with his overprotective mother, Marina. She wants his son to become a “complete person”, which is why she subjects him to a series of more or less orthodox methods of therapy. For instance, she enrolls him in acting classes, where he has the opportunity of playing Chekhov’s Don Juan, as the leading character. It’s also here that he meets a girl whom he falls in love with. Sladkowki’s tragicomic documentary evokes in a bittersweet note the painful process through which good intentions drive family members into attempting to change one another, highlighting the fine lines between normality and pathological codependency and between introversion and disability. The role-playing experience, at once on stage and before the camera, reveals a fragile, generous and profound young man and questions to what extent emulating socially accepted behaviors supports personal development or, rather, if it inhibits it. ...

  • Down the Deep, Dark Web

    While the prophecy of cypherpunks seems to become the reality of our times, people start to wonder whether the revolution of the Internet is good or evil. In an attempt to objectively present the two sides of the deep web, issues like the battle for privacy, anonymity or the cryptomarket emerge. Interviews with cryptoanarchists, users of the Darknet and hackers reveal what lies behind the world of the Internet which we claim to know so well. Smoothly striking a balance between these modern matters, the author leaves room for various opinions, yet he also brings forth other vital questions regarding where we are headed to as a society, one the one hand, and as individuals, on the other hand, in this electronic age. ...

  • Dream to Fly

    The animation Dream To Fly sweeps the viewer into the extraordinary visual experience of the story of man's most ambitious dream of all: to fly. The documentary presents in the new full-dome format the human perception on flying, moments in the science and history of aviation, inventors and their momentous creations. It is an invitation to discover the mysterry of flying along with Leonardo da Vinci, the Montgolfier brothers, the Wright brothers and other aviation pioneers. Images interwine with the original score and a poetic narration into a cinematic experience of substantial impact and convey an inspiring message: a dream must be pursued, no matter how impossible it might seem. ...

  • Dybbuk. A Tale of Wandering Soul

    Thirty thousand Hasidic Jews arrive in Uman, Ukraine, on an annual pilgrimage to celebrate the Jewish New Year at the grave of their holy leader. Their arrival is met with the ire and prejudice of the Ukrainian far-right. Clashes between the two groups are routine and yet the reciprocal intolerance of both cultures threatens to destroy Uman. This crafted doc tells of a remarkable clash between two civilisations and was appraised "for courage and non-conformity in showing an extremely complicated and universal problem of reciprocal intolerance when facing the dangers of the contemporary world.'' ...

  • Employment Office

    The two filmmakers with a background in anthropology, Charlotte Grégoire and Anne Schiltz, indirectly question the (non-)sustainability of the contemporary Belgian welfare state model, in a ciné-verité inspired style. Assuming the role of an observer/witness, the camera captures in detail, by means of shot-reverse shots, assessment meetings between the officers from a public employment agency and the people applying for unemployment benefit. They qualify for it only if they follow the administration’s procedures and prove they’ve been actively searching for a job. The confrontation between the facilitators of an impersonal system and the particular cases, different from person to person, highlight, on the one hand, the exclusiveness of the bureaucratic jargon, the lack of power, the contempt, desperation and resignation, whereas, on the other hand, the image of a dehumanizing system sharpens gradually and subtly, and comes across, in the end, as insufficiently adequate to properly understand or satisfy the individual needs and expectations of the citizens it serves. ...

  • Empty Room

    Challenging our understanding of radicalization and its reasons, “The Empty Room” is a deeply moving portrayal of a global problem personified: a Belgian family is faced with the aftermath of their 19 year old son’s death, who had left to wage jihad in Syria. Banding together with other parents in her situation, the mother fights against the silent disappearance of her son through the cracks of the judiciary system, demanding that his death be officially recognized and that she be let to grieve properly. Of course, her struggle is not easy, as she has to cope not only with her overwhelming loss, but also with the unspoken blame cast on her for not preventing her child’s indoctrination. But by making everyone her audience, from Parliament officials to teen-agers in high-school, she questions issues of responsibility and victimhood, unveiling our deeply flawed understanding of them. our deeply flawed understanding of them. ...

  • Facebookistan

    As some are fighting a war against Facebook, most people seem to enjoy the benefits provided by this giant platform. With 1.4 billion users from all across the world, Mark Zuckerberg implements his strategy of connecting everybody and “giving power to people”. Addressing the prickly question regarding what really happens with the data shared on Facebook, the author takes us on a journey of discovering the underbelly of this social network. The rules that govern the Facebook nation are a hot polemic among users, since joining the platform is a one-way ticket. As the alpha and omega of our societies nowadays, information is a powerful tool for those who possess it. By means of interviews and Internet archive images this film draws attention on issues like privacy, freedom of expression, control via shared data, and adjustment to the modern technology. ...

  • Filip And The Dark Town

    Dintre multele filme și reportaje de televiziune despre Copșa Mică, localitatea purtătoare a nedoritei faime de cel mai poluat oraș al Europei, documentarul de față iese în evidență datorită protagonistului său, Filip Mădăraș, de 12 ani, din satul Agârbiciu, aflat la mai puțin de 10 km de fostul ''oraș negru''. Urmărind ceea ce spune și face Filip, filmul creează portretul unui copil care, prin preocupări și fapte, se arată mai matur decât mulți dintre adulții din viața lui. Are grijă de animalele din gospodărie, curăță râul de gunoaie împreună cu colegii lui din organizația ''Micii ecologiști'', și, cel mai important, vrea să îi facă pe ceilalți să înțeleagă de ce și cum trebuie protejat mediul înconjurător. ...

  • Fire at sea

    Winner of Berlinale Golden Bear in 2016, Fire At Sea depicts the life on the island of Lampedusa through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy, Samuele, an inhabitant of this island in the middle of the sea. Located about 200 km off the southern coast of Italy, it is not an island like the others, but the most symbolic border of Europe, crossed by thousands of migrants in the last 20 years in search of freedom. Gianfranco Rosi lived on this island for months, gradually coming into contact with the locals, on the one hand, getting to know their rhythms, their daily life, their way of seeing things, and the guests of the island, on the other hand, with their customs, religions and tragedies. The director succeeds at capturing the truth and reality, but also the humanity within. Andrew Pulver, writing for The Guardian, described the documentary as having “a distinctive, humane cinematic style” and being “a collection of tiny details that morph, almost by osmosis, into a shocking excavation of the mechanics of crisis.” ...

  • Giant

    Giant is a virtual-reality short about a family trying to survive in an active war zone. The story draws from the director’s personal experience, growing up in war-torn Serbia. The film evolves around an American family: two parents and their six-year-old daughter. They hide in their basement as a fury of bombs approaches outside. To protect their daughter from understanding the imminent danger they face, the parents fabricate a tale about a giant who wants to play with her and whose footsteps are the loud explosions they hear approaching. ...

  • God Save the Partisans As We Wait for Americans!

    In post-war Romania, religious and political persecution didn’t come to an end. The installment of the Communist regime brought along the Securitate, a terrifying instrument for pursuing people who were incompatible with the system’s ideology. The film presents the story of Aristina Pop-Săileanu, who stood out through her guerrilla activity during Communism, in Maramureş, but also the history of the partisans in Mount Ţibleş. Going through painful experiences and surviving the Securitate, she is resilient in fighting for the values in which she believes. Interviews and archive images blend with the image of the protagonist in the present,as she recollects disturbing and incredible moments in recent history. The mark of the consequences of an oppressive system is highly visible in the narrative of this documentary, whose message is rendered through the collective memory of a community, of a people. ...

  • Govandi Crime aur Camera

    It goes without saying that in an urban slum located right next to India’s largest garbage dumping ground, squalor and crime must be the norm. Inspired by crime shows such as Crime Patrol and CID, a group of residents of Shivaji Nagar, a slum cluster in Govandi, the suburban area at the edge of Mumbai, have produced their own version and put it on youtube, in an attempt to expose this state of affairs and do something about it. In doing so, they also pursue their passion for acting. The film follows the six Govandi CID ''stars'' as they look for suitable props, build film sets, act and record new episodes. ...

  • Halves

    The first half of the film shows the author and protagonist working on a cargoboat that ships Japanese cars cut in half to the Russian port Vladivostok. It is part of a scheme to elude Russian customs, since half cars cannot be subject to taxation. Upon arrival, the cars are reassembled and transporters take them to their final customers. Zarchikov decides to follow this route, so that the second half of the film happens on land and depicts the long journey throughout Siberia. By reassembling the two halves, sea and land, we get a deep personal documentary on motherland, religion, nature, and rootlessness. ...

  • Homme Less

    HOMME LESS is about the underbelly of the American Dream, the hidden backyard of our society. Mark’s life stands as a metaphor for the struggle of the vanishing middle class in America. But it’s also a film about the relationship between New York City and one of its residents. New York is not simply a beautiful backdrop for this story. She’s the antagonist that dictates the direction Mark’s life is going in. The joy and pain, the love and hate, the success and denial New York is teasing him with, the hardship he is going through in order to stay in her grace and the inventiveness he comes up with to be with her are all unique ...

  • Human

    The human condition, with its noble and beautiful side, as well as its darker and disquieted side, is sincerely presented as a collection of aerial images accompanied by uplifting music. The accounts of the diverse people in this film invite us to analyse ourselves, as universal beings. A documentation of the struggles and victories that unite us all with more than 2,000 interviews conducted in 60 countries, HUMAN gathers stories of poverty, domestic abuse, and anxiety, but also tales of love and the joy to be alive. It raises awareness on prejudice, what it means to be part of the society, and how fascinating people can be. The stories abound in love and happiness, on the one hand, and in hatred and violence, on the other hand, making us reflect on the meaning of our existence. An immersion into what it means to be human, this film is an ode to mankind and to Earth altogether. ...

  • In Between

    There are people leaving behind loved ones and sense of place against their will, to escape a home country turned into a warzone. However, there are also those who leave of their own free will, sacrificing the stability of their lives to help those forced into flight. A deeply moving tale about the hidden costs of empathy, “In Between” follows the silent struggles of an Estonian family of Muslim faith separated by the woman’s humanitarian work in a Jordanian refugee camp. Although reunited through small everyday habits, their Skype calls don’t abolish but only reinforce the distance. This destabilizes the sense of purpose the young woman finds in her job, revealing the limitations of her emotional resilience and the clash between values and emotional needs. Director Liis Lepik astutely portrays how the barely noticeable can chip away at your inner strength, leaving you bare, struggling to find your mental footing. ...

  • Keep Quiet

    Former vice-president of the Hungarian extreme right party Jobbik and former member of the European Parliament, Csanád Szegedi has lived his entire life deeply influenced ideologically by anti-Semitism. In 2012, at the peak of his political career, he finds out that his mother’s side of the family is of Jewish descent. KEEP QUIET, a biographical documentary that blends in a classical fashion talking heads with archive footage, lays out the identity crisis Szegedi undergoes as a consequence of his paradoxical discovery, and observes his personal and public journey, once this former nationalistic political leader decides to actively join the Jewish community in Budapest, against which he had fervently militated in the past. Directors Joseph Martin and Sam Blair focus, on the one hand, on how collective hatred and xenophobia propagating mechanisms work, and, on the other hand, on the self-effacing effects it has on the victims, leaving the viewers to decide whether Szegedi, a natural born performer of a questionable credibility, is being truthful or not about his transformation and newly found apologetic attitude ...

  • King's War

    History can take various guises and many of them are not truly accurate, as in the case of Michael I, King of Romania, whose real story had been distorted by Communist propaganda. With the help of archive images and a series of interviews with historians, researchers and the King himself, we are able to discover a facet of Romanian history of which many of us may not know. Historical truth is revealed, and we find out about the King’s struggle to strike a balance between domestic and foreign affairs, especially in troubled times, as World War II was at its peak. We can also note how the King continued to fight for this beloved country, Romania, even when he lived in exile. Supported by real facts and a personal testimony of the king himself, we can reconsider our views regarding the history of Romania and the life of its King. ...

  • Kiya

    Kiya is a virtual reality piece telling the story of two sisters’ valiant but unsuccessful efforts to try to rescue their third sister, Kiya, from a deadly attack by her ex-boyfriend. Using two separate recorded calls to emergency workers, the experience puts the viewer on scene as the tragic events unfold. With three women killed every day by their intimate partners in the United States, Kiya is ultimately a call to action: this should never happen to anyone’s sister again. Nonny de la Peña's work is known to explore how the use of space in a narrative can influence the experience. The viewer’s first-person perspective triggers empathy and an intense sense of connection with the characters. In this way, the author hopes to raise awareness of the global problem of domestic violence. ...

  • Life under the Arctic Sky

    This documentary takes the viewerto a breathtaking journey two hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, near the jagged tips of Norway's crown, the sun does not set for weeks on end during the summer months, and the midnight sun bounces off fields of midsummer snow. Here is the Sami's homeland, spread across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. The Sami are some of Europe’s last indigenous peoples, reindeer herders who for thousands of years have lived a nomadic lifestyle in the Arctic wilderness. For them, the notion of time is untethered from the cycles of the sun and is tied instead to something far more important: the movement of the reindeer. ...

  • Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

    In LO AND BEHOLD, REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD, the Oscar-nominated documentarian Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams) chronicles the virtual world from its origins to its outermost reaches, exploring the digital landscape with the same curiosity and imagination he previously trained on earthly destinations as disparate as the Amazon, the Sahara, the South Pole and the Australian outback. Herzog leads viewers on a journey through a series of provocative conversations that reveal the ways in which the online world has transformed how virtually everything in the real world works - from business to education, space travel to healthcare, and the very heart of how we conduct our personal relationships. ''Another way to look at Lo and Behold is not as an inquiry into ideas but rather as a collection of interesting human specimens.'' (A. O. Scott, The NYTimes) ''With interviewees ranging from Elon Musk to a gaming addict, Werner Herzog presents the web in all its wildness and utopian potential in this dizzying documentary''. (Lanre Bakare, The Guardian) ...

  • Longest Night: A Winter’s Tale

    "The Longest Night: A Winter's Tale" is a one-of-a-kind fulldome planetarium show that captures its audience with a timeless fable of courage, generosity and renewal. Its story explores the concept that winter is a time for Earth to rest, waiting for new growth in the spring. Its star, a young girl born into a family of nomadic storytellers, embarks on a simple quest that leads her to a dragon's nest. What will she discover there, and how will it help her save her village? Morehead Planetarium collaborated with Paperhand Puppet Intervention to develop the story and visuals of "The Longest Night." The Morehead production team seamlessly wove together live-action video of Paperhand's world-class puppeteers with beautiful and intricate fulldome animation to create this innovative and imaginative show. ...

  • Manakia Brothers. Diary of a long look back

    A mysterious photograph of her great grandparents taken in the 1920’s somewhere in the Balkans reminds the author of two Aromanian photographers, famous in the region at the time – Milton and Ianaki Manakia. Trying to verify the assumption that her great grandparents, also of Aromanian origin, were indeed photographed by the two brothers, she embarks on a journey through Romania – Bulgaria – Macedonia – Greece trying to recompose the lifestory of the two people who became the very first filmmakers in the region, devoted documentarists of the most dramatic changes that reshaped the face of the Balkans in the first part of the XXth century. ...

  • Max Rescues Animals

    Max are o misiune importantă: el vrea să salveze rase pe cale de dispariție, care au fost odată utilizate pe scară largă ca animale de fermă și de companie, fiind foarte des întâlnite în ferme și gospodării din Europa Centrală. Fiind în vacanță, Max poate merge la înot cu prietenii și să doarmă cât de mult vrea. Dar, la vârsta de numai 13 de ani, el este responsabil de proiectul „Arca” din Neuhaus, se îngrijeşte zilnic de 120 de animale, şi lucrează la construcţia „Arcei Copiilor” unde, în curând, copiii vor putea să descopere animale domestice aflate pe cale de dispariție. Fiind nevoie de timp și energie pentru proiect, iar Max nu vrea să lenevească. „Pur şi simplu iubesc animalele”, a spus Max, „mereu mi-au plăcut şi nu-mi pot imagina ceva mai frumos decât să am grijă de ele.” Max nu doar că se îngrijeşte de animale, dar le şi înmulţeşte. El vrea să salveze speciile pe cale de dispariție. Din acest motiv, elevul călătoreşte des cu fratele sau tatăl lui la târguri şi licitaţii, unde sunt vândute exemplare de animale care îl interesează. La un astfel de târg, Max tocmai a cumpărat la licitație un berbec. El vrea să îl folosească la reproducere, putând astfel să aducă o contribuţie mare la conservarea acestor oi. Specii rare de iepuri, curcani şi oi sunt doar o parte din rasele de animale îngrijite de el. Multe din aceste rase mai sunt astăzi cunoscute doar de profesioniştii în domeniu. Dar Max citeşte încă din fragedă copilărie, plin de entuziasm, cărţi ştiinţifice despre animale. Camera lui a devenit o mică bibliotecă de specialitate despre animale. Și el însuși este un expert, fiind între timp respectat până şi de către crescătorii adulţi cu multă experienţă în spate. Părinții și frații lui mai mari îl susțin pe Max. La început au crezut că pasiunea lui pentru animale se va încheia în cele din urmă. Acum însă şi-au dat seama că Max ia foarte în serios această muncă. Astfel, i-au pus la dispoziţie o bucată de teren pentru animale. Acolo, animalele lui Max trăiesc în țarcuri și grajduri. Proiectul Arca Copiilor Cel mai nou plan al lui este să înfiinţeze "Arca Copiilor". Este un proiect ambițios. Max își propune să-i înveţe pe copiii din grădinițe și școli despre speciile pe cale de dispariție. În acest scop, el a renovat, împreună cu familia, un vechi hambar, a construit garduri şi echipamente de adăpare pentru animale. Banii necesari îi sunt puşi la dispoziţie de familie dar este, de asemenea, norocos să primească sprijin şi din partea prietenilor. Finanțarea nu este atât de simplă, însă Max este sigur că, până la deschiderea din octombrie 2016, va reuşi să finalizeze cele mai importante angajamente. ...

  • Music@AstraFilm: CONCERT Aromanian Music - Mara & Band

    MARA is singing since her early childhood. As a young artist, she was invited in various radio and TV shows and also national music festivals. Her talent and charisma made MARA very interesting for pioneering artists in the ‘90s and ’00s, who invited her to collaborate on various and equally challenging projects, ranging from electro (Nemos, NSK, Electic Brother) to rock (ZOB, Vama Veche) and acid jazz (Blazzaj, Baba Novac). So it’s safe to say that MARA is an important part of the Romanian recent music history, and these were just the forming years! In 2009 MARA was signed to Kult Studio Records, and from there on her career went full speed ahead. Since then she released four singles and a magical album (with impressive reviews), recorded with nineties’ icons Coolio and Haddaway, toured along with fellow artists Sensor and Kult Studio Artists in Romania and Europe, appeared in various TV & Radio Shows and literally turned her name into an exclusivist brand. Her solo project is exploring a wider sound and her live act has a profound purpose in connecting with the audience in a spiritual, loving way. ...

  • Music@AstraFilm: CONCERT Kana Jambe

    Formatia de muzica Kana Jambe a luat fiinta odata cu lansarea piesei Kana Jambe, interpretata de Bogdan Artistu'. ...

  • Music@AstraFilm: CONCERT Moonlight Breakfast

    Moonlight Breakfast s-a înfiinţat în 2011 şi a debutat în forţă, cântând direct în deschiderea concertului Jamiroquai, din România. Succesul răsunător pe care l-au avut în faţa a peste 35.000 de oameni, i-a propulsat rapid pe cele mai importante scene muzicale din România şi din străinătate. o Au ajuns astfel să cânte alături de artişti de renume internaţional ca Hurts (pe celebra Arena din Viena), Parov Stelar, De Phazz, Macy Gray, Selah Sue, Waldek şi Daddy G (Massive Atack) o Au fost invitați să cânte în cadrul evenimentului de închidere al JOCURILOR OLIMPICE de la Sochi, (Russia) o Au fost invitaţi la numeroase festivaluri de muzică, precum Imagine Festival 2016 (Untold Music Festival) 2015 (Basel, Elveţia), Eurosonic 2015 (Olanda), Untold Music Festival 2015 (Romania), DonauInselfest Wien 2014 (Austria), CANNES Lions International Festival Of Creativity 2014 (Franţa), Wir Sind Wien 2014 (Austria), Linzfest 2014 (Austria), Get Dizzy - Alte Kongresshalle Munich (Germany), Open Jazz Fest 2013 (Slovacia), Romanian Culture Festival 2013 (Polonia), Spirit of Burgas 2011 (Bulgaria), Jazz in the Park Festival 2014 (Cluj Napoca), Street Delivery 2014 (Timisoara), Electric Castle Festival 2013 (Cluj Napoca), Summer Well 2011 (Mogoşoaia), TIFF 2012 (Cluj- Napoca), dar şi la UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE GALA (Bucureşti). o Piesa Shout este coloana sonoră pentru un spot publicitar Ford difuzat în 52 de ţări o Hello, My Baby şi Shout au fost în topul celor mai difuzate piese din Germania o Premiul "Cea mai bună trupa românească" la ELLE STYLE AWARDS ...

  • My Friend Rockefeller

    The FBI called it “the longest-running con in FBI history”: Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a man known to close friends and family as “Clark Rockefeller”, lived a life of deception and crime before settling on his ultimate scam – impersonating a Rockefeller. The film follows the trail left by Gerhartsreiter and collects the reflections of people who were left in the wake of his roller-coaster journey. How was Gerhartsreiter able to dupe so many people from so many walks of life? A story that begins in a Bavarian village, continues in the most exclusive clubs on the American East Coast, – and ends in a Los Angeles court. - http://cinephil.com/my-friend- rockefeller/ ...

  • New Gypsy Kings

    Filmmaker Liviu Tipuriță takes us into the heart of the astonishing world of Romania's super-rich Gypsy popstars - a world of fast cars, lavish houses and gangsters. The Roma community is one of the most marginalised and impoverished in Europe and for years their traditional music has been their most famous export. Now a new type of Gypsy sound called Manele has swept across the country. Manele stars can earn 20,000 euros a night at opulent weddings, with cash showered over them by guests. Their videos can get millions of hits on YouTube. Traditional musicians, like the world-famous Taraf de Haïdouks, once championed by Johnny Depp, claim that Manele has put them out of business and that the new genre is destroying the Gypsy music brand. This film explores an extraordinary social and cultural change through its soundtrack. The screening is scheduled on Thursday, 20th October, 21:30 hrs at Thalia venue and it is preceded by the concert given by Kana Jambe & Dan Bursuc. ...

  • New Man

    Stephania is a middle-aged transgender for whom each day on the streets of Montevideo is a new struggle for survival. Director Aldo Garay mixes everyday scenes with footage of her shot 20 years ago. Thus, he attains a layered and non-victimizing portrait of a person with multiple identities. Ideologically influenced by the Sandinista movement from native Nicaragua and actively involved in the political and social education reforms of the 80s, Stephania would later on experience loneliness and marginality. Although it touches greatly on gender identity issues and although it equally addresses the way in which the political turmoil from Latin America’s past configures Stephania’s present, THE NEW MAN’s major thematic focus relies on her journey back home, to a family she hasn’t seen for decades, since she was still the preadolescent Roberto. Garay craftily approaches the tension between vulnerability and inner strength that made Stephania be the woman she is today, without sensationalizing her outstanding biography, but rather conveying with dignity an intimate story, which, nonetheless, speaks in a universal manner about identity and the concept of “home’’. ...

  • Notes on Blindness - A Journey Into a World Beyond Sight

    Notes On Blindness is a multi-platform interactive project created alongside the feature length documentary Notes On Blindness. Notes On Blindness – Into Darkness, A Journey Into A World Beyond Sight uses new forms of storytelling, gameplay mechanics and VR to explore John’s cognitive and emotional experience of blindness. Each scene will address a memory, a moment and a specific location from John’s audio diary, using binaural audio and real time 3D animations to create a fully immersive experience in a world ‘beyond sight’. ...

  • On the Wings of the Night

    On the Wings of the Night is a documentary film for planetariums about the migrations of birds, convering from the amazing ideas developed by the ancient greeks about the sudden disappearance of birds from their fields to the mechanisms that birds use to fin the route towards their winter quarters. The show combines spectacular CG animation, starry skies and fulldome video recorded in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the european continent, from the fjords of Norway or the Diepholz swamps in Germany down to the largest wetlands in southern Spain, where migrating birds gather by the millions before crossing the ocean to Africa. ...

  • Pallasseum - Invisible City

    A witty play with the cinematic possibilities of establishing and breaking down spatial limitations, “Pallasseum – Invisible City” adapts the triptych form to delve inside Berlin’s largest urban living complex, a gathering of 2000 people of 25 nationalities. Taking inspiration from the building’s brutalist architecture, director Manuel Inacker adapts its principles of exposing the construction’s functions to show us the inner workings of the inhabitants’ daily lives. He uses significant details to paint in broad strokes each family’s story, studying how living changes the inhabited environment and how the latter will design our day to day existence as its part of the bargain.Mixing and matching sounds and images from different apartments, the film undermines spatial continuity to create a collage of actual and possible spaces and stories, the portrait of a city hidden from view but also of one that resides only in our imaginations. ...

  • Parchim International

    Made over the course of seven years, “Parchim International” documents one aspiring Chinese business tycoon’s dream of transforming the small, almost abandoned airport of Parchim in Northern Germany into an international reference point for air travel and global trade. More than just the story of rocketing success or glaring failure, the documentary shows the doubts and traumas of the people behind the business. Raised out of poverty through the sheer force of will and determination, Jonathan Pang of China becomes the owner of the Parchim Airport, after Luftwaffe during WW2 and The Soviet Air Forces in the time of East Germany, and promises to transform it into a gateway of Chinese culture in Europe. However, the concepts of capitalism and globalization clash with local workers’ values, who approach the change with scepticism, suspicious of big promises and little concrete action. “Parchim International” walks on the fine line between perseverance and utter folly and takes us along a journey of absurd humour, grit and clashing cultures. ...

  • Pearl Button

    Water, the main metaphor in The Pearl Button, stands for a portal to Chilean history and culture. Patricio Guzmán explores the meaning of water as a flow of historical recollections and poetic reflections, rendered with cinematic clairvoyance. The surviving members of several native "water tribes", decimated by European colonization, remain to maintain their ancestral customs and language. Their genocide is juxtaposed by the more recent tragedy of Pinochet dictatorship of the 1970s, when thousands of political prisoners were murdered, many of whose bodies were dumped into the sea. Using journalistic accounts of these murders, Guzmán skillfully weaves together multiple modes of documentary: the picturesque, the political and the poetic, resulting in a more meditative, essayistic mode of non-fiction. Portraits of native peoples decked in elaborate body paint and masks stretch our ability to recognize the human. A documentary that transcends time, The Pearl Button is a vivid, essential gate to understanding not only the heritage of a nation, but also the art of nonfiction cinema. “It is the director’s extraordinary intuition about the synchronicity of history, geography and the physical universe – a mysterious relationship that has nothing to do with cause and effect – that gives the film and its predecessor their undeniable power.” – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter ...

  • Philip and the Dream Factory

    Hollywood a devenit sinonim cu strălucirea și celebritatea. Gândul se duce automat la vedete sclipitoare,limuzine și mulțimi de fani care umplu străzile. Documentarul Philip și fabrica de vise pătrunde dincolo de acest clișeu, în viața obișnuită. Povestea lui Philip e povestea multor copii care s-au născut și trăiesc la Hollywood. Chiar dacă părinții lor sunt angrenați într-un fel sau altul în industria filmului, există o parte a existenței lor care e la fel ca oriunde: mersul la școală, distracții, hobby-uri. Dar perspectiva unei cariere în lumea filmului e prezentă. La doar 9 ani, Philip este promovat de o agenție pentru modele și actori copii și a avut deja roluri în spoturi publicitare. Cu mult discernământ, el explică cele două fețe ale medaliei în meseria de model sau actor: e plăcut și distractiv, dar poate deveni foarte obositor. ...

  • Pregnant in Romania

    PREGNANT IN ROMANIA is an expository documentary with sociological underpinnings, combining several talking heads interviews to attain a global image of the governmental policies through which the Romanian state supports or not women who want to have a child. More than 40 women living in Romania and Spain are interviewed on social issues such as the viability vs. the dysfunctionality of the public health system, work-related discrimination or the role of one’s life partner in the upbringing of children. Despite the major differences in terms of age, education, occupation or financial means, all of them have to deal with the common denominator of the state. On the other hand, among them, there is, however, at least one factor which influences decidedly the quality of health services: money. Not only does Jesús del Cerro’s documentary underline the cynicism of the Romanian society in concern to the lack of actual support given to the future mothers, but it reveals moreover a highly conservative society in regard to the condition of women overall. ...

  • Red Empress - The Life and Adventures of Ana Pauker

    Through a series of interviews with great historians and political scientists and with the help of archive images, the author re-constructs the image of Ana Pauker, the unofficial Romanian communist leader in the late fourties and early fifties, that is during the Stalinist years. This barely explored period of Romanian contemporary history, abounding in legends and misinterpretations, is presented from a perspective essentially based on verifiable truth. Although the collective memory retained her as a despicable person, responsible for all the tevils in the country, this image is but a distortion of history orchestrated by the communist propaganda for the benefit of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, the next in command who eventually became her successor. In an attempt to demystify Ana Pauker’s figure of a “criminal” and observing a chronological and thematic structure, the film casts light on a different facet of this emblematic character of Stalinist Communism. ...

  • Right Between Your Ears

    Many people have a strong sense that their views are right and couldn't possibly be wrong. So how do we come to hold strong convictions and why is it hard to consider we could be mistaken? Through the eyes of a group of people convinced that they knew the date of the end of the world, Right Between Your Ears explores how people believe, how we turn beliefs into certainties, and mistake them for the truth. A stock trader with a young family, a philosophy student about to graduate, and a retail manager who became so convinced she quit her job of 18 years. As they face the consequences of their conviction, neuroscience and social psychology offer insight into how we can become convinced we're right, even when we're wrong. http://www.rightbetween.com/ ...

  • Scorched Water

    The Axolotl is a fascinating creature for a number of reasons, including its grotesque appearance, its ability to regenerate, and primarily the fact that it exhibits the phenomenon known as neoteny, meaning that it retains characters of the larval stage all through its adult life. It lives in the lakes surrounding Mexico City and is believed to be imortal. In the film, Axolotl a.k.a the Mexican walking fish, becomes a metaphor for Mexico City itself, in an essayistic inquiry into survival and adaptation. ''Beginning with a collection of impressions and quotes about the Axolotl, it´s the film itself that goes through metamorphosis: The places, the people, the protagonists, the atmosphere, everything goes through gradual change. I am interested in documentary filmmaking as a process, where the outcome is at first unpredictable, undefined.'' (Alexander Hick) ...

  • Searching for Sugar Man

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  • Sieranevada

    One single day with the Mirică family of Bucharest, who gather in an apartment for the Orthodox ritual of commemoration of the family patriarch 40 days after his death, turns into a chronicle of the family, when the clashes between its members generate a storm that stirs up old wounds, grudges, lbetrayals big and small, revenge and reproof, re-enacting parts of what we call la comédie humaine. Sieranevada is a monumental portrait of a family and a society ripped by a mistrust originating in the history of threat and insecurity, the recollection of which opens the wounds instead of healing them. ...

  • Snatches of Longocampo

    Snatches of Longocampo represents the omnibus collection of the documentary films created during CINEIMPACT International Film Academy, that took place in the region Campulung Muscel in 2016. The CINEIMPACT Film Academy is an international program dedicated to Creative Documentary and Visual Anthropology. The filmmakers that created in the framework of CINEIMPACT program are students or graduates of MA and Phd programs in Film and Visual Anthropology, coming from countries such as Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Brasil, Croatia, England, Greece and Romania Omnibus film is dedicated to the fragments of domestic marginality, joys and aspirations through the visual confessions of local characters belonging to a diverse range of social categories. ...

  • Sonita

    In a hyper-conservative society where creativity, self-expression and self-agency for women are a privilege, Sonita, a gutsy 18-year old Afghan refugee in Iran, finds solace in socially-conscious rap. Tackling the meaning of personhood in the face of poverty and sexism, the film is one of many ethical dilemmas. It is also the perfect context for the young woman to transform her role of subject into that of active participant: she unabashedly stares into the camera, as if at us directly, while making her demands over how and when she is filmed. The documentary is as much a journey for Sonita as it is for the director, who is faced with a choice between her filmmaker-witness status and that of active influence on her protagonist’s world. Uplifting as it is challenging, the documentary is an improbable success story in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. ...

  • Techsquat

    Exploring the idea of self-imposed limitations as boosts to inspiration, “Techsquat” observes five twenty-something- year old entrepreneurs in their day-to- day activities, as they design and negotiate the rules and boundaries of their lives. Trying to make their own miniature Silicon Valley, the young men move in together in a small apartment in Prague, where they want to create a focused environment of cooperation and creativity. Without glamorizing the start-up industry, the film breaks down the fourth wall to present a glimpse into a generation. Eager for action and change, the characters try to carve out a place in the world for themselves while being confronted with societal ideals of independence and masculinity. With endearing dose of irony and humor “Techsquat” is essentially the universal story of self-creation and transitioning into new roles and stages of life. ...

  • Those

    David Bohm famously said, “a great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” Exposing the twisted mechanics of paranoia, “Those” uses a series of interviews with locals to show how the construction of a refugee camp next to a Hungarian town divides its citizens, while proving to be only the tip of a larger iceberg of conflicts. Among this tension, the refugees are shown walking silently, deprived of the right to a voice, as if unwillingly stuck in a performance. Framed by a fairy-tale- like narration, the documentary takes the initial punch-line effect of ignorance and strips it bare, exposing the true basis of repulsion. It is a tale as old as time, our tendency to regard whomever is different from us as a threat to our way of life, be it refugees, immigrants, people from a different region of the same country or even of the same town. ...

  • Thoughts That Once We Had

    Described in an opening text as a “personal history of cinema, partially inspired by Gilles Deleuze,” The Thoughts That Once We Had from master cinematic essayist Thom Andersen is a richly digressive journey through most of film history. A found-footage film composed entirely of unidentified, yet often recognizable film clips and concise intertitles written by Andersen, Thoughts leaps associatively across a vast territory spanning from Griffith to Godard, using dynamically cinematic images and sequences not to explain, but to embody Deleuzian ideas in all their rich ambiguity and nuance. Structuring the film in ways that are alternately witty and puzzling, Andersen free associates from what seems like the totality of cinema, from Erich von Stroheim to Jack Smith, from Maria Montez to Patty Hearst, from Joris Ivens to Pedro Costa and then he suddenly slows things way down with very long comic excerpts featuring Harry Langdon, Laurel and Hardy, then the Marx Brothers. The film veers abruptly into documentary footage devoted to the proletariat, capitalists, communists, Leningrad, Hiroshima, North Korea, Vietnam, then back to WWII footage of Hitler touring Paris. “A wordless, associative, haunted journey – sometimes rueful and sobering, sometimes very funny – not just through the history of cinematic innovation, but through the 20th century itself." — The Guardian ...

  • Torna, torna, fratre!

    The Aromanians are remains of an old world slowly dying out. Their language is barely spoken anymore in the Balkans, mostly among the elders. Some assess the number of the Aromanian population at 350.000, others estimate it to be around one million. They are scattered all over the Balkans, in Albania, Greece, Makedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Their name differs from one place to the other: vlahi, rumeri, rămânji, makidonji, armânji etc. This documentary changes the point of view towards an analysis from their own perspective of the Aromanian origins, language and name. The shootings were made in Albania (Moscopole, Korcea), Makedonia (Krusevo, Bitola) and Greece (Sirako, Avdella, Pirivoli). They put together a mosaic of places and people resulting in the portrait of a lost world. ...

  • Train to Adulthood

    The first 15 minutes of the coming-of-age TRAIN TO ADULTHOOD seem taken out of a utopic world living in an unreliable timeframe, where the employees of a railway station work hard at their job willingly; it’s also a surrealist world, seeing that the age of the “employees” is somewhere between 10 to 14. But the utopia quickly crumbles, once director Klára Trencsényi turns her attention to the stories of two families from Budapest and we come to realize that Gergő and the twins Carmen and Viktor choose to work in this summer camp only as a way to escape the precarious reality from back home. Gergő’s parents are working abroad, in Germany, while the twins’ mother is about to lose her house and can barely make ends meet all by herself. In the course of two years, Trencsényi follows the heartbreaking process of three preadolescents having to grow up almost overnight, highlighting the anachronistic role that a space belonging to the past - intended for the pioneers by the former Communist regime - plays in their present-day lives, when the end of their childhood is likely to be taken over by uncertainty and disillusionment. ...

  • Trapped by Law

    The room is completely dark and empty apart from a spotlight that shines on a young man sitting in an armchair. Another shot, same scene shows us a second man. The two are brothers, here to tell their story of how a single night stripped them of their nationality, identity and sense of safety. Diving into the absurd intricacies of the legal system, the documentary “Trapped By Law” follows two Roma brothers over the course of five years, starting with their sudden overnight deportation from Germany to Kosovo, from where their family fled thirty years back. Director Sami Mustafa splits his film into chapters, in an attempt to mark the crucial moment of this odyssey and make sense of all that is happening, while he himself gradually becomes a protagonist in the story. Investigating the meaning of nationality and the different layers of forced displacement, the film mixes on-site footage with post-factum interviews, creating an intimate portrait of the two brothers as they try to return to their families and the country that cast them away. ...

  • True Cost

    This is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing? Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva, The True Cost is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes. ...

  • Unknown Photographer

    The Unknown Photographer is a surreal plunge into the fragmented memories of a First World War photographer. A documentary/fiction hybrid unfolding in virtual reality, the project invites participants to take a stroll through a museum—a vivid dreamscape whose images are set in a 3D universe of otherworldly structures, improbable architecture, and impossible sculptures. Participants meet captivating allegorical characters while walking through a world that invites them to question the power of images and the ravages of war in times past and present. The photographs used in this project were taken from a photo album discovered in an abandoned barn north of Montreal, Canada. ...

  • Violin Farmers

    LÀNG VIOLON follows an orchestra in the rural area of northern Vietnam. Founded about sixty years ago and in spite of the hard times of the war, the orchestra has continued rehearsing and playing to the present day, due to the love and dedication of the farmers-cum-musicians of the first generation. However, the generations to follow are less keen to keep the tradition. The question is whether this cultural seed that inseminated on their soil in such an unusual manner and grew up to a vigurous tradition has any chance to survive. ...

  • Wilder And His Wild Life

    O viață sălbatică ilustrează perfect capacitatea documentarului de a dezvălui lumi necunoscute și vieți neobișnuite ale oamenilor obișnuiți. Wilder Ferreira are 12 ani, locuiește în Cape Town în Arica de Sud, împreună cu părinții și cei doi frați mai mari. Numele lui (Wilder înseamnă sălbatic, nestăpânit), îl caracterizează pe deplin. Vorbește engleză, suedeză (mama luiu e din Suedia) și limba afrikaans. Iubește animalele și merge în safari pentru a le oberva în sălbăticie. Face scufundări, surfing și skating. Dar cea mai importantă preocupare a familiei sunt rechinii și protejarea lor. Wilder a fost crescut să respecte rechinii și nu i se pare neobișnuit să înoate alături de ei. La fel cum nu i se pare neobișnuit nimic din stilul de viață al familiei Ferreira. ...

  • Witness 360: 7/7

    On the 7th July 2005 Jacqui Putnam stepped on to a Circle Line train in London on her way to work; a journey she had taken many times before. At 08:50 am Mohammad Sidique Khan would detonate a bomb in the carriage next to hers. This is the story of her day, the immediate aftermath of the explosion and her road to recovery. The film combines personal testimony, reconstruction, and abstract imagery to take the viewer on a powerful multi-sensory journey into the heart of one survivor’s extraordinary story. ...

  • World 2 War

    World 2 War is an action packed fulldome documentary that combines cinematic battle scenes with informative overviews of the battlefield and historic reference from photos and videos, to put the viewer right in the middle of World War 2’s biggest battles. ...

  • Yangka im Land des Glucks

    Documentarul Yangka în Țara Fericirii prilejuiește o incursiune într-o țară exotică și îndepărtată, din perspectiva unui băiat de 13 ani. Când Yangka ţine în mână vopseaua și pensula, el uită de lumea din jur. În aceste momente, vede doar măştile de lemn de pe masă, pe care le însufleţeşte cu fiecare mişcare a pensulei. Yangka locuiește în internatul școlii de pictură Choki, situată la 20 de kilometri de Thimphu, capitala Regatului Bhutan, situat în cei mai înalţi munţi din lume, Himalaya. Această țară mică are o ambiție națională mare, și anume fericirea tuturor cetățenilor săi. Pe parcursul documentarului, Yangka dezvăluie ritmul vieții lui de zi cu zi de la școală, aspirațiile lui de a deveni maestru în pictura tradițională, bucuriile vacanței și emoțiile examenelor. Visul lui Yangka este să ajungă într-o zi să picteze măști pentru dansatorii de la celebrul Festival de dans din capitala țării, Thimphu. Cu această ambiție se prezintă la examenul de artă, în cadrul căruia candidații trebuie să creeze patru picturi, fiecare conținând câte un simbol norocos. Filmul îl însoțește și în acest moment important, de care depinde viitorul lui. ...